Youth activists rally to remove the R rating from a documentary about bullied teens.
It’s been said that online petitions are basically worthless. But in the case of the Weinstein Company documentary about a teen boy being bullied at school, an online petition started at Change.org kicked off a large wave of activism around the film. Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber spoke out against the rating. Bieber told TMZ,
“I think Bully can serve a purpose, there’s more to it than just the curse words,” Justin said. “At the end of the day, they don’t know the thing [bullying] that it’s doing to the kids in schools.”
Kenneth Turan gave a great review of the film, which documents bullying in schools and interviews the families of children who’ve taken their own lives due to bullying. If you don’t know much about the film, please watch Turan’s review here.
One boy featured in the film resonates with you, that sweet face of youth in glasses and too-big teeth, reminiscent of either ourselves as kids or someone we’ve known. You can’t detach from this boy, you can’t look away from his pain—as much as you may want to.
Some people are concerned that an unrated film may be even less accessible to children, but hopefully that won’t prove to be the case. After seeing extended trailers for the film, I’m glad that the documentary is going to be accessible to teens, but I feel that teachers, school administrators, and parents are the people who should be rushing to see it.
After all, it’s the job of us grown-ups to keep children safe, and until we look straight into the eyes of these young people who are suffering, we may not realize how important it is that we put an end to bullying—as best we can—once and for all.
The film opens nationwide today.